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Minimum Wage: Why We Chose Dialogue Not Force – Tinubu

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In a national broadcast marking Nigeria’s 25th anniversary of unbroken democracy, on Wednesday, President Bola Tinubu explained his administration’s approach to the minimum wage negotiations.

Tinubu, during his address to mark Nigeria’s Democracy Day, underscored the importance of dialogue and cooperation in addressing economic reforms, particularly regarding the national minimum wage.

Tinubu’s remarks focused particularly on the ongoing negotiations with organized labour regarding a new national minimum wage.

Tinubu emphasised his administration’s commitment to dialogue and cooperation. “We chose the path of cooperation over conflict,” he affirmed, highlighting his administration’s invitation to labour leaders for negotiations.

“In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done,” Tinubu asserted.

He added that reasoned discussion and principled compromise were hallmarks of democracy.

He said, “We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less.

“ No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution. Reasoned discussion and principled compromise are hallmarks of democracy.

“These themes shall continue to animate my policies and interaction with the constituent parts of our political economy. I take on this vital task without fear or favour and I commit myself to this work until we have built a Nigeria where no man is oppressed.

“In the end, our national greatness will not be achieved by travelling the easy road. It can only be achieved by taking the right one.”

He said the approach to the minimum wage issue reflects his broader vision of governance, centred on dialogue and inclusivity.

“I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you,” he assured, signalling his commitment to engaging with all stakeholders in shaping the nation’s future.”

Tinubu also highlighted the necessity of economic reforms to build a stronger foundation for future growth.

“Our economy has been in desperate need of reform for decades,” stated President Tinubu, acknowledging the challenges stemming from decades of over-reliance on oil revenues.

“It has been unbalanced because it was built on the flawed foundation of over-reliance on revenues from the exploitation of oil.

“The reforms we have initiated are intended to create a stronger, better foundation for future growth.

“There is no doubt the reforms have occasioned hardship. Yet, they are necessary repairs required to fix the economy over the long run so that everyone has access to economic opportunity, fair pay and compensation for his endeavour and labour.”

He emphasised that while the reforms had brought hardship, they were essential for creating equitable economic opportunities for all Nigerians.

As the nation commemorates its democratic journey, Tinubu urged unity and collective action in moving Nigeria forward.

He declared, “Democracy and the institutions it begets offer to take us to our profound destination.”

“The words of the American President Franklin Roosevelt certainly ring true: “There are many ways of going forward. But only one way of standing still”!

“We dare not slumber lest the good things awaiting our immediate future pass us by. We dare not plant our feet in an idle standstill in the middle of the intersection of hope and despair.

“We know the proper way forward and we shall take it! The initial rays of a brighter tomorrow now appear on the early horizon. An abundant future and our capacity to achieve that future lie within our reach.”

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